HAYS-- The Dane G. Hansen Foundation, Logan, has awarded Fort Hays State University’s Sternberg Museum of Natural History a matching grant of $81,000 to renovate the museum’s fossil preparation lab.

The grant money will be released when the museum raises $81,000 to match the Hansen Foundation gift.

Expanding the preparation lab benefits all who work, visit, volunteer and learn at the museum. The preparation lab is where staff, volunteers and students clean, stabilize and repair fossils for long-term preservation before they are ready for research or exhibit.

“We are thankful for the Dane G. Hansen Foundation’s generosity,” said Dr. Laura Wilson, curator of paleontology at the Sternberg Museum and an assistant professor of geosciences at FHSU.

“The fossil prep lab is a fundamental part of the museum, and this is a fantastic opportunity for us to improve how we serve the public,” she said. “Enlarging and updating the prep lab will allow us to expand our educational resources, create new exhibits, train students and undertake scientific research -- all important aspects of the museum’s mission.”

The Sternberg Museum has several initiatives in place or in planning to raise the matching funds. The initiatives include the second annual Spring Gala, slated for 6 p.m. Saturday, April 1, at the museum. Included in the event’s ticket price is a behind-the-scenes tour of their paleontology collection and prep lab.

Additional information, tickets and sponsorship opportunities for the gala are available online at webapps.fhsu.edu/SternbergGala or by contacting Wilson at 785-639-6192 or lewilson6@fhsu.edu.

To support the Sternberg Museum in making its fossil prep lab project a reality, gifts can be made online by visiting http://foundation.fhsu.edu/donate/ and typing “Fossil Prep Lab” as the area of designation.

For more information on how to support this effort, contact the FHSU Foundation at 785-628-5620 or email foundation@fhsu.edu.